Friday, December 31, 2010

What's Old Is New Again

Does anyone remember this sweater?

I do. And I promise you $100.00 that my sisters do too. This is because I think that I can safely say that I have never lusted after a commercially produced sweater as much as I did this one. I was obsessed.

I had just turned 16 when this sweater hit the shelves at the Gap. I had missed the opportunity to put it on my birthday list, and my sister's best friend owned it already. At 16 this is pretty major of course. Since we all went to the same not-so-densely-populated school, I sure didn't want an article of clothing that makes such a statement when someone already had dibs on it. God forbid I buy a sweater at the Gap and get labelled as a 'copy cat'. 

The second factor that discouraged me ever purchasing this sweater, was that it cost cost over $100.00. I had quit my job at my dad's garden centre (it was an amicable parting of the ways) and when I figured out how many hours of babysitting that added up to, I thought I'd best be bet sticking to my strictly vintage wardrobe. Hrm. I probably should have kept that garden centre job... After some time, the sweater disappeared from the shelves at the local mall, and eventually from my 'Top 10 Things I Desperately Want' list. (Although I never fully got over it).

Fast forward 11 years. The Gap has decided that colour isn't cool this season, and the shelves do not reflect their rainbow past. BUT- the sweater came back from the dead to haunt me recently. In a Casper the Friendly Ghost kind of way. In the form of a... WINE COZY!

I met with a friend last Monday for brunch, and when she gifted me this- I almost had a heart attack right there. That sweater was finally mine. Hallelujah! Angels sing! She could have put an empty bottle of wine in that cozy and I would have been just as happy. I shall never drink the wine that is in there however, so that the sweater always has a body to cozy up to.

It's the New Year, and the theme of this celebration is new beginnings.

Here is to new projects, new friends and fresh starts.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And the Talent Goes On

I seem to recall a promise I made to you regarding sharing some more talent before Christmas came and went so darned fast. Well, I apologize. But that's exactly what happened. Where did Christmas go? BOOF! And it was done. Was the knitting done? Not exactly. But it was a perfect Christmas either way.

As for the aforementioned talent- VOILA!

If only I had laid out a measuring tape next to this sweet little creation. It's plus petite! I swear! 

Who made this you ask? Another dear customer! Who just so happens to be written up in the December issue of Canadian Living. For those of you who don't to have a copy of that magazine lingering in your washroom magazine basket, let me summarize for you.

Our customer and her buddy started making ornaments for all of their friends and their kids back in the late 80's. While their list of recipents started out at a rather modest number, it has since grown to 140 people. Yeah no... not kidding.

Now, the ornaments aren't knit each and every year- they switch up the medium each time. (The Canadian Living magazine gives the directions to make their 2007 wire and bead christmas tree ornament). But this year- it was bitsy stockings knit out of Lannett (a 3 ply baby wool that we stock). Not only that... but the stockings were stuffed with a marble, baby clemintine made out of Fimo, 2010 penny, candy cane, present and a reindeer.

Too cute for words.
Too many ornaaments to wrap my head around.

And what's on the agenda for next year you ask?

Tin angels.

That should likely go a wee tad faster than 3 ply wool.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Felice Navidad!

It's too late now! What's knit has been knit and what hasn't- well... it's just gonna have to wait.

They'll understand.

Wishing you the happiest Christmas of them all!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Warm Greetings

And so- I ended my last blog post with some mutterings regarding all of the talented people I know. Which got me thinking as I floated through the shop today... Ooooooh lala. Am I ever speaking the truth! I couldn't escape the talent, even if I tried!

Case in point.

Back in the summer I had helped a customer out with picking out some yarn to make Christmas cards with. She said that she was going to knit up some swatch-sized fair isle and pop them onto some cardstock. Voila! Fuzzy Christmas greetings! She had told me about their progress each time she came back for a visit/yarn fix but I had yet to see them live in the flesh (er, wool).

Yarn- Sisu. Knitter- Customer Pat who won a squash from us once in a draw at Show and Tell 2009.

Well didn't it just take me by surprise when I strolled into the shop on Tuesday morning to discover a card tucked into the mailbox. The enclosed note said that after making one of these cards, she realized that only knitters would (or could!) really appreciate them- so we were the lucky recipient of one. She asked us to overlook any mistakes that she had made, but really!?!?!? What mistakes? I don't see any mistakes. Do you? Of course not!

May this be a lesson to us all- our mistakes scream at us but the recipient won't find them, even if they look. Good thing too. Because this Christmas, there are going to be a lot of mistakes tucked under my tree.

So, stay tuned- will ya? Because tomorrow there's some more talent that needs to be showcased.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas is Coming...

 The goose is getting fat.

And this girl is going to give herself arthritis before the 25th. (It runs in the family, so I know that this is a major possibility).

I do have some tricks for you should you want to speed up the knitting/gifting process. It's worked for me and I'm pretty much done (minus the boyfriend scarf- who will just have to accept a project on the needles. I'll tell him to finish it himself. I am ready to knit for me now anyway.)

Trick Numer One- Throw on your iPod and crank up the music that you usually run/workout to. If you aren't the type to do that sort of thing (work out that is), I'll send you along my playlist. Nothing like some Black Eyed Peas to get you through those final NEVER ENDING stretches of booooring stocking stitch.
("YES! Tonight IS going to be a good, GOOD night!" I sing along as I stitch away).

Trick Number Two- Throw in a REALLY long movie and don't allow yourself to get up until the credits are rolling (not even to go to the washroom. You'll lose your stride). Last night I popped in The Great Escape and by the time that nice credit music was playing, I was actually casting off (it was also WELL past my bedtime mind you, but I accomplished my mission). Sleeping is SO under-rated this time of year anyway.

Or, if you have friends who are knitters- don't knit for them. Not right now anyway. Pick them up some stitch markers from Mary's made by my sister dearest. Only $10.00 and 100% of the cash goes to adopt as many sheep as we can for a village far away.

I have some connections to some pretty talented people.

I know it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sometimes, It's Just Easier to Ask

I have a sister, who has spent her life surrounded by knitters (naturally). As a result of spending countless hours around 'people like me', she is well aware of the work and time that goes into making a knitted gift.

The problem is, when she is gifted something knitted, she never flippin' wears it.

We have found beautiful cable knit sweaters smushed into the back of her closet, delicate scarves crunched under her bed and mitts without their mate far too many times to count. It makes me queasy just to think about it...

So this year, much to my surprise she sent me a text that said 'IF YOU WANT TO KNIT FOR ME THIS YEAR, KNIT ME A SNOOD'.


 And done.

While I had wanted to leave an element of surprise to her gift, I gave up rather quickly after considering my hundreds of options and knowing her history. I decided to ask for more details.

The instructions that followed were as such.

I could hide my dinner in that thing!
I delivered.

Pattern- Welted Cowl by John Brinegar from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2010 (on newstands now!)
Yarn- Naturally Harmony 10 ply  5 skeins in shade 802
Needles- 5mm 80cm Chiaogoo Red circulars

Sorry. I have a crappy camera. I can't help it. 

Should she decide that this cowl just isn't neutral enough, or big enough- I have a solution.

But she'll wear it- right?

She'd better.

 Or else.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

How Mary's Yarns Stays Warm

The other day as I was cruising through my emails, I came across this.

Watch it.

You will reconsider how you heat your home.

Yarn shower anyone?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November in Review

This past month has come and gone at a rapid-fast pace, and I felt that point form was the best way to catch up with my knitting blog buddies. I have for you both knitting, but mostly non-knitting news.

-I went to Florida and got a bit of a sunburn, making my skin peel. I also knit myself a sock.

-My precious parents celebrated 30 years of wedded bliss. A party was thrown, but more importanty- somebody amazing made an equally amazing cake (in honor of the amazing couple).

Anyone who knows my parents, knows how perfect this cake is.

-I became uber obsessed with hats. I made a couple, but have more than a couple on the needles currently. This will make for more blog content where you have to look at my face as I awkwardly wear the freshly knitted hat. Perhaps I should hold a casting call. Our model is getting a little stale.

-I turned 27. No big deal, but I did start using under eye cream. I'm told my time has come. Better watch it with those sun burns.

Thumbs up for a homemade-personalized-Grasshopper-Birthday-Pie!

- I rediscovered my lava lamp. Am I ever glad that I kept that thing in my parent's barn all those years! TOTALLY worth the storage space.

-I finished two pairs of socks in one week. This might be some sort of record for me and my DPNs.

-I discovered the 'Shellac' manicure- and I will never be the same.

 -I took someone's hand-knitted-sock virginity- and he will never be the same.

- I re-discovered my love for point form notes.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Because I'm 'Kool' Like That

Oh hello beautiful knitters/readers (I don't discriminate... if you can't knit, I suppose that you can still read a knitting blog). Here I am and believe it or not, I have knitting to show off to you. And much more to come! But before I get ahead of myself, I want to show off something recent.

It's... a hat.

And... it's a colour that I have never knit before.




Looks to me as though my neighbour is clearly up to no good. 

I must admit one small thing though... and that is that this yarn comes in a limited range of colour. Cream was pretty much the most 'vivid' option available but it's just so darned beautiful to knit with... that I care not! While this yarn's rainbow doesn't extend much past neutrals, I simply tell myself that I'm knitting the shade of some precious New Zealand sheep out there and then suddenly all is well with the world.

Why New Zealand you ask? Because that's where this yarn reigns from. Where the sheep are cream, charcoal, and various shades of brown. (In my New Zealand anyway...)

                                         Needles? 4mm for the brim, and 5mm for the main
        Pattern? Koolhaas Hat from my boyfriend Jared Flood over at Brooklyn Tweed (jealous much?)

It's a Chrismas gift, but I can't decide quite yet for who. I have made a list of possible recipents, I'll just see who treats me like gold for the next month and who doesn't.

And just in case you were wondering where I have been since I took off that sugar bag, here's a hint.

Baby trees and lizards anyone?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Only Because You Asked

Some of you have been inquiring so I thought I would oblige.


Instead of going as a baked good this year, I thought I'd go as an ingredient.

I am thinking next year... a stick of butter perhaps?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

There Just Weren't Enough Ruffles in My Life

So I knit some more!

I must tell you that this scarf was a result of two things.

1- I cast on a hat out of Veronik Avery's new book Knitting 24/7 (the best knitting book I've gotten my dirty paws on in a long time) out of this yarn and it pooled... this isn't always a bad thing- in fact, I thought it was a good thing when it started to happen. But the deeper I got into the hat... the more I fell out of love with it.

So, I rrrrrriped it out.
And promptly cast on this lovely little ascot- because I felt this yarn just simply couldn't go un-knit.

Which leads me to # 2- When Estelle's fancy-fun novelty yarn Frill Seeker graced our shelves a couple of weeks ago, we couldn't keep it in stock. Our inventory is now rather depleted and the supplier is clean out. It occured to me that Mary's Yarns just couldn't handle not having an alternative ruffly-scarf option for even a moment.

Aaaannnnnd... queue the Churchmouse patterns.

I cast on the required 648 stiches and off I went. Nothing but a whole lotta knits, purls, increases and decreases. The most time consuming part was casting on (which I believe I spread out over two days) but after that, it was all fun and games (seriously).

Info you tend to want to know as follows-
Pattern- Churchmouse Classics 'Barb's Ruffled Scarf.
Yarn- 2 skeins of Shibui Staccato in shade Bohemian
Needles- 4mm and 3.5mm.

BOOM! There are your ruffles folks.

And so, I leave you with this sheep today.

Thank you for your wool.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Keep those Pumpkins Warm

This past weekend I was thankful for many things- safe cars, cupcakes with plastic rings nestled into a mound of phoney icing on top, health (which is likely to deteriorate at top speed if I continue to eat aforementioned things at the rate I do), family, friends, food, people that knit... and hats that looks like seasonal produce.

Above it all though, I am thankful that I have a mother who can knit such things.

Not only am I thankful for all of her mad knitting skills, but also that she has passed along (some of) her knitterly abilities to me. Oh, how thankful I am.

The details? (I am also thankful for details)

Yarn- Smart by Sandnesgarn.
Pattern- Patrick's Pumpkin Hat by Fiber Trends
Needles- I don't know (since I didn't make it- my mom did, in case I had you confused)... but I can make a sort-of-educated guess. 3.5mm-4mm double points? (If we're lucky, she'll let us know in the comments)

So, she might have been a little on the skimpy side when knitting for this beast, but I'm sure we can find a deserving little pumpkin for this hat. Especially since I happened to notice that we got our first decent frost when I walked up Yonge Street to pick up a carton of milk this morning.

We best be keeping those pumpkins warm.

They need to make it to Hallowe'en yet.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'll Have Another Order of Purple Milk Please

Can you smell the crispness in the air? Do you know what that means? Do you know why Mother Nature is gently nudging us towards our jackets and hats once again?


So, I did. Er, I am.

I recently cast off a Christmas gift and am feeling pretty good about myself. Too bad I made a list this week of everyone I intend to knit for- I'm so hilarious sometimes. The list was absolutely laughable. I'll be lucky to get a pair of chunky socks done.

Well, at least I can feel good in knowing that there will be at least one lovingly handknit item under the tree from me. (For a certain VERY loved one who just purchased purple glasses- the colour was choice was very intentional).

What is it? I hear you ask.

Look familiar?

I bet it does!

Because you saw it here not so long ago! (I'm getting pretty boring and predictable, aren't I?)

Details please.

Pattern- Milkweed Shawl by Laura Chau
Yarn- Tosh Sock
Needles- 3.5 mm

Thank you.

Happy Fall.
Flowers for all to match the shawl.

(Did I just leave you with a rhyme there!?!?!? I DID!)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I KNEW I Chose this Polish for a Reason

A few days back as I was digging through my extensive nail polish collection to pick out my 'shade of the week' (don't laugh). I landed on this milk-chocolatey-rusty-cinnamon shade (how's that for a colour description?). After I had slapped some onto my nails I admired them (but only for a moment) until I realized "Gee Lynn... you really have kissed summer good-bye".

Where has all the hot pink and vivid read gone!?!?! I took myself by complete surprise. I felt like I didn't even know myself anymore.

That is until ... I walked into the shop and my mom asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hand. I did this with some hesitation (I always think that someone is going to put a mouse in my hand when that happens) but low and behold, there was no mouse. But a BISON-BAMBOO wrist warmer!

Holy heavens how wonderful!

If you recall... I am a total sucker for ensuring that nails match fingerless gloves. I knew there was a subconcious method to my milk-chocolatey-rusty-cinnamon madness.

The details? NO PROB!
Pattern? ACTUALLY! How about kit? Fibreisle's for "Zoe's Wrist Warmers" (we have them in the shop)
Needles? Whatever came in the kit! (Remember now, I didn't knit them) 2.25 perhaps?
Yarn? Again... came in the kit. BUT, it's Fibreisle's Bamboo-Bison blend in laceweight. So warm... and such pretty colours!

So I guess I didn't completely write-off summer afterall. I was just prepping for all the Fall accessories that are about to come my way.

Le Sigh...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Seriously Lynn???

I had a week off recently and thought that I'd be oh-so-clever and get cracking on some Christmas gifts. I raided my stash, pulled some fun sock yarn from the deep depths and got rolling.

Much to my amazement, a pair was completed.

Cute enough.


Look closer.

I panicked, concerned that my knitting had become so inconsistent I couldn't even get socks to match anymore. Had I knit one before I had completely wound down from work that it was that much tighter? One sock representing my state of mind at the beginning of holidays... and one at the end?

HAH! No. (This realization was a bigger relief than you know!) It was just me getting bored with this project and itching like mad to start something new. I ended the second sock an entire repeat before the other (making it three fat stripes shorter).

Aiaiai...I am not convinced that my holiday did what it was supposed to.

I think it just made me even more daft than I was going into it.

Peaches anyone?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lions, and Garter and Lace- OH MY!

Well I'll be... Do I look overly pleased with myself or WHAT!?!?!? I mean really, it's just ridiculous! Not only is it a million degrees outside and I'm wearing long sleeves and a scarf/shawl, I am smiling so big it looks like my lips are going to disappear!

And why is that? You ask.

Because I have used up yarn that has been staring at me for over a year from my bookshelf, AND because I was able to use that yarn not only on garter stitch (I love me some decent garter!), but LACE also! I often worry that my brain is rotting because I knit so darned many plain-jane socks, that it feels MIGHTY good to have popped some lace off the needles. It is nothing epic mind you, but it feels rather good none the less.

Can't you tell?

You want the deets? I'll give you the deets.
Pattern- Milkweek by Laura Chau (available for purchase through her site)
Yarn- Cadenza by Estelle- 1 skein! Love that.
Needles- 3.5 mm, but I think I'd bump it up to a 3.75 next time around (I must have been stressed... SO TIGHT!)
Fun factor- It's fun. Believe me. It's fun. HELLO! It's garter stitch and LACE! Together at LAST!
And lastly, look at what a dear friend recently gifted to me!

May this act as a gentle reminder to me each and every day.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Summer Tiiiiiime...

And the living is easy

Fish are jumpin'

And the cotton is... being crocheted!

Mandarin Petite cotton that is! Into a sweet little chevron patterned baby blanket.

And while that's all happening, the tomatoes are ripening.

And there are sweeeeeeeet blooms everywhere.

This sure beats working with that heavy mohair/wool blend yarn from last summer! Aiaiai... What exactly was I thinking???
In this hot, hot heat... I'll stick to the Mandarin, merci!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Feast for the Eyes (and Soon the Belly too!)

How about a healthy helping of some Handmaiden Sea Silk...

Some Madelinetosh Sock...

New Noro Silk Garden colours...

And my first ever bitsy cucumber that's growing as fast as it can.

My life SO doesn't suck.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cotton, Coral and SUMMER!

I have discovered that when new yarn starts rolling in to welcome a new season, I immediately cast something on. It's like I just black out and before I know it, I am 4" into something. I actually sometimes have to go back and remind myself exactly what pattern it was that seduced me into knitting it.

Back in April/May, this was the case with this lovely cotton coral vest.

A new yarn showed it's face called 'Replay' by Tahki Stacy Charles. It's a 100% recycled cotton (I am still sort of trying to figure out what means exactly since I don't throw my jeans in the recycling bin- do you?) and aran weight. It comes in fabulous colours that remind me of the shelf of very loved t-shirts in my closet. The book that accompanied the yarn was equally enticing and before I knew it... I had knit the body of this baby!

Sigh... when you finally come to terms with posting photos of yourself online, you have to be ok with the fact that not every single image will be FABulous. In this case, I ask you to please just revert your attention to the vest- not the face.

Now- as with most projects, I learned a very valuable lesson here. In this case it was read the pattern before you just charge into a project. If I had read through the pattern, I likely wouldn't have cast on. Why you ask? Because the neck line asks you to kindly pick up over 400 stitches in cotton yarn- not the worlds most forgiving fibre. (Did you feel me just throw up a little???)

Having said that... It was probably super good for me to have to do this and work outside of my comfort zone. Did I particularly enjoy that part of the vest? Heck no.
Especially when I realized I had made a massive mistake and had to rip it all out and pick up those stupid stitches all over again.
BUT- look at what a lovely vest I now have!!!
Feeling kinda groovy

I must say though that I am entirely tickled with the finished product. What the pattern lacked in laze-factor, it made up for in fit-factor. I love the fit! Now, enough time has passed since completion that I don't feel like I want to throw it into my recycling bin along with my jeans. I tend to have to let my projects marinade for a while after finishing them before I wear them (and in this case, blog about them).
I don't know why that is... it just is.

Want some details???
Well, twist my rubber arm!
Yarn- Tahki Stacy Charles 'Replay', 100% recycled cotton. 7 balls.
Needles- The pattern called for 5.5mm, but I used 5mm (because I guess I just felt like rebelling when I saw the number of stitches I was picking up).
Size- Medium. 37" finished bust. I went up a size than I normally would since I bumped down my needle size. Sometimes that's a scary thing to do, but it this case it worked out looooovely like. (I tell you, I am just SUCH a knitting risk taker!)

Summer is still young... cotton vests for everyone!

I hope you all have functioning air conditioners!